I have a confession to make. I'm a drug addict.

It started like so many others do. A friend I was visiting up in Connecticut took me to a really cool show she was playing at and offered me some of her favorite drug. Not having much experience with it, and always willing to try something new, I accepted. The first taste was a little unsettling, maybe even a little unpleasant. But after I tried a second helping it got better. The bitterness sort of faded and the rush started to take hold.

I got back home to Charlottesville, VA and started looking around; I wanted to see if I could find some more. It was good stuff after all! At the time the market in town for my mood-altering substance of choice was pretty slim (not like today, when it's practically sold on every street corner). I'd heard stories of people becoming severely dependent on it, but I thought "I am not like them; I'm smarter than that. I'll be fine."

It was all a thinly-disguised lie to myself; within months I was a habitual user, going into debt to my supplier to cover the next fix. Instead of eating, I was using when I was broke and unemployed. It was the one thing I had to look forward to when I had a couple of bucks extra.

Then I got a new job, and it seemed all was rosy. I had enough money to cover my drug expenses, plus a little left over, and it seemed to help me get going before work. But the downward spiral just accelerated. Before long it was the first thing I did in the morning and often the last before I went to bed. If I went more than 12 hours without a fix, I got headaches, couldn't focus, and became fidgety and irritable. In fact, I was a junkie. But then, a lot of my friends were too, and a lot more were on the way, so it didn't seem as bad as it really was.

Within a year after starting I was getting strung-out. I wasn't even trying to moderate the magnitude of the addiction; I was just getting through the day one hit at a time. People were noticing; a few were saying things to me, but I wasn't listening. I was too busy keeping an eye peeled for the next place to get hooked up with a shot. Fellow users and I would often get together and talk about the best places to score a dose. I even bought the equipment and supplies to make my own.

Finally one day I added up how much I'd spent in that month and found it was a significant fraction of my disposable income. I wasn't going into debt over it, but how much longer could it be? I swore to go off cold turkey, and I did... for a few weeks. Then I was back on worse than ever.

These days, I'm still using, but I'm working on it. I really am. I've cut way back, basically just using enough to keep me out of withdrawal. Sure, I have the occasional binge, but who doesn't, right? I mean come on, it's not like you're all pure and innocent, Mr. High-and-Mighty American Average Person.

I do want to say one thing to the children of America. Don't be like me, kids. Drugs are bad, and they'll ruin your life if you get into them too deep. You'll go broke, you'll be an addict, and you'll hate yourself for it.

So please, please don't be like me. Just Say No to Coffee!

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